Evaluations: Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence: A Threat or Savior?

  • W. F. LawlessEmail author
  • Donald A. Sofge


We first review and evaluate our own research presented at AAAI-2015 (computational autonomy) and AAAI-2016 (reducing human errors). Then we evaluate each of the other contributed chapters on their own terms that more or less mesh with these two parts of this book. To begin, after recent successes with Artificial Intelligence (AI; e.g., driverless cars), claims have surfaced that autonomous robots in society may 1 day threaten human existence. These extraordinary claims followed others by macroeconomists in 2003 that their economic tools would prevent future financial collapses, and social scientists in 2015 that humans can learn the skills to forecast political winners. We now know that these claims were overstated, wishful or fanciful. Theoretically, how can AI threaten human society when the key characteristic of social interaction, interdependence, has not been satisfactorily modeled with AI or economics; or when interdependence “invalidates” experimental social science? We have found that the incorrect understanding of interdependence (mutual information) by traditional scientists precludes successful social predictions; and its mystery has led economists to believe that aggregated social preferences are meaningless. If AI cannot model interdependence satisfactorily, AI-robots may be able to communicate among themselves or with humans or they may be able to defeat humans at board games, but AI will not be a wellspring of innovation like interdependence has been for humans, nor will AI ever be able to model human interaction effectively. Thus, we need to know whether interdependence can be modeled satisfactorily for robots; what limits does interdependence entail; and what forecasts does interdependence permit? In contrast to traditional perspectives, with our model, we have concluded that interdependence is a resource used by humans to innovate and to solve intractable problems. Finally, we evaluate our two themes in this chapter and the chapters in this book to offer a path forward for research in AI. In the first section of this chapter (13.1), we discuss the use of AI in the development of autonomy for individual machines, robots and hybrid teams that include humans in states of social interdependence; then, on their own terms, we evaluate the other chapters associated with autonomy. In the second section (13.2), we discuss the use of AI in reducing, preventing or mitigating human error in society; this second section is followed by an evaluation of the remaining chapters, again, on their own terms.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychology and MathematicsPaine CollegeAugustaUSA
  2. 2.Distributed Autonomous Systems Group, Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence, Naval Research LaboratoryWashington, DCUSA

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